Changes are on the horizon for the MotoGP weekend format in 2024, following the significant alterations introduced during the 2023 season. A key modification involved the inclusion of half-distance sprint races at every round, resulting in a complete restructuring of the race weekend.
Under the revised format, qualifying sessions took place on Saturday morning, determining the starting grid for both the sprint race and the grand prix. Additionally, an important change was implemented for Friday’s activities. The combined order at the conclusion of FP2 now determines which riders advance directly to Q2 in qualifying, while others face the elimination Q1 session.
This adjustment has effectively transformed the latter stages of practice sessions, particularly FP2, into mini qualifying sessions in their own right. Starting position has gained increased significance in recent years as the difficulty of racing motorcycles has escalated. While this alteration has heightened the importance of Friday running, several riders have voiced their concerns, citing the hindrance it poses to their ability to adequately fine-tune their bikes.
During an extraordinary meeting held at Assen on Thursday, the MotoGP World Championship stakeholders reached an agreement on modifying the weekend format for the upcoming season. Starting from 2024, the division between riders participating in Q1 and Q2 will be determined solely based on the results of the second free practice session on Friday.
For the remainder of the weekend, the format will remain unchanged, including a 30-minute FP3 session preceding Saturday’s qualifying. Although there was initial consideration to implement this change in the current year, lack of unanimity among members of the manufacturers’ association (MSMA) led to its postponement until 2024.
The new format has injected a fresh sense of excitement into the premier class weekends. While initial complaints were lodged by some riders regarding increased aggression, particularly in the early stages of the Saturday sprint races, these voices have gradually faded over time.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about MotoGP weekend format
What were the format changes introduced in the 2023 MotoGP season?
The 2023 MotoGP season brought about significant format changes, including the addition of half-distance sprint races at every round. Qualifying sessions took place on Saturday morning, determining the grid for both the sprint race and the grand prix. Additionally, the combined order at the end of FP2 on Friday determined which riders advanced directly to Q2 in qualifying and who had to participate in the elimination Q1 session.
What modifications are being made to the MotoGP weekend format for 2024?
Starting from the 2024 season, the division between riders participating in Q1 and Q2 will be determined solely based on the results of the second free practice session on Friday. The rest of the weekend format will remain the same, including a 30-minute FP3 session preceding Saturday’s qualifying.
Why was the implementation of the format changes postponed until 2024?
Although there was initial consideration to implement the changes in the current year, the lack of unanimity among members of the manufacturers’ association (MSMA) led to the decision to postpone the implementation until 2024.
How has the new format affected the MotoGP weekends?
The new format has brought about a significant shake-up in the weekends of the premier class. Initially, some riders expressed concerns about increased aggression, particularly in the early stages of the Saturday sprint races. However, with time, these concerns have diminished.
What are the key factors emphasized in the revised format?
The revised format places greater emphasis on starting position, as bikes have become more challenging to race in recent years. The combined order at the end of FP2 on Friday now holds crucial importance, turning the latter stages of practice sessions into mini qualifying sessions in their own right.